Bacon, Cheddar & Ranch Garlic Bread

This delicious dish skates the line of garlic bread or maybe even a flatbread. This is so good and so easy. Share with others – everyone will love this. We ate it for dinner with some salad but I can definitely see it being a fun app or side.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon, Cheddar, Ranch Garlic Bread
The garlic cooks in the bacon drippings and butter meaning the full flavor of the bacony-tidbits goes onto this. It mean the crunchy brown bits from the pan soak into the bread.

Bacon, Cheddar & Ranch Garlic Bread

Ingredients:

~6 strips of bacon
1 loaf Italian bread or baguette
4 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons dried Ranch seasoning
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon chopped chives or parsley (optional)

Directions:

Chop then pan fry the bacon until crisp. Spoon onto paper towels to drain, but reserve the grease in the pan.
Preheat the oven to 375-degrees. Slice the bread and pop it into the oven while the oven preheats- just to start to warm through.
Add the butter and garlic to the pan with the bacon drippings. Cook over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes.
Spoon over the bread and then top with ranch seasoning, cheese, and bacon.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon, Cheddar, Ranch Garlic Bread
Bake for 10 minutes, until cheese melts and the bread gets golden around the edge. Optional: Sprinkle chives over the top.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon, Cheddar, Ranch Garlic BreadSlice into 1 inch slices. Enjoy!

This was a really fun one. We had it for dinner with some salad and it totally hit the spot. I loaded up the bacon because, well, it is bacon! The little one ate all the bacon off his pieces first, then ate the rest.
The Three Bite Rule - Bacon, Cheddar, Ranch Garlic Bread
I had the bread in the freezer and always freeze bacon, so this was easy to pull together.

#Meatless Monday Recap #2

Back in January I instituted #MeatlessMondays into our weekly menu plan, though it isn’t always on Mondays. Since the last update, the name of the game is speed and ease. The little one is more into grains, veggies, pasta, and cheese than he is into meat at the moment so meatless is never a challenge for him.

Some of my favs have been the no-brainers, because that’s helpful for speed now that I’m verrrrry pregnant. I followed a few recipes that were great! I made a Roasted Veggie Lasagna from What’s Gaby Cooking with a cream sauce and I roasted butternut squash, zucchini, and grape tomatoes as the veggies.  Another recipe we loved was Peanut Rice Noodle Bowls with Curried Peanut Sauce from Eats Well With Others.

I made Tomato Basil Polenta Bowls with White Beans and it was so good!
The Three Bite Rule - Tomato Basil Polenta Bowls

We had a white french bread pizza and risotto and ravioli which are all fan favorites here.

This Tart with Potatoes, Gruyere, and Caramelized Onions was a hit for me, less so for everyone else.
The Three Bite Rule - Potato Tart
I put chopped veggie burgers into tacos with a little taco seasoning and voila, veggie & filling taco!

We had a few soups: Broccoli & Cheddar Soup  and grilled cheese with tomato soup.

One of the most fun meatless meals I made was waffle fry nachos with queso, avocado, shredded cheddar, peppers & onions, and salsa. So fun!

I’m fully willing to admit that my meatless meals are also serving us as the no-brainers I really appreciate to keep it easy. I’m 34 weeks pregnant and through my entire pregnancy I’m not “glowing” or whatever people say who enjoy this. I’m glad to get meals together quickly so we can all eat together, and keep it varied. They might not all be my most creative moments, but it is a good way to keep us varied.

Garlic Lovers Burger

I keep a running list of burger themes to be sure I save a good one to be Mr. J’s birthday burger tradition. I actually used a McDonald’s-trying-to-be-fancy burger as my inspiration! Ours had brioche rolls seared in garlic butter, with white cheddar, garlic aoli, and chips.
The Three Bite Rule - Garlic Lovers Burger

There is a fun blog post critiquing McDonald’s attempt at this garlic burger. I thought it sounded like it could be amazing…if made with care.

Garlic Lovers Burger (for 2)

Ingredients:

2 burger patties (mine was a Beyond Meat one)
2 slices of sharp white cheddar
2 brioche rolls
3-4 garlic cloves, grated
2 teaspoons butter
3 tablespoons mayo
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt & pepper
lettuce
kettle chips

Directions:

Grill the burgers.
While the burgers are cooking, slice the rolls, and grate the garlic cloves.
Mix half the garlic with butter and melt it in a large skillet over medium-low heat.
Mix the other half of the garlic with the mayo, also adding the garlic powder, salt & pepper.
Melt the cheese over the burgers.
Sear the buns in the garlic butter pan.
Assemble them with lettuce, the burger, chips, and garlic aoili on the top bun.
The Three Bite Rule - Garlic Lovers Burger
Enjoy!

I loved the zip of the garlic in the aoli and the chips on there. Tomato would have been good but we only had little grape tomatoes. I definitely thought this was a good one!
The Three Bite Rule - Garlic Lovers Burger

I used a Beyond Meat burger for mine. I don’t eat red meat, but I do eat other poultry/pork/etc so I was really jazzed to try it since I can definitely compare to meat in general! I usually use ground pork or ground chicken. Turkey is just cra-zy dry. I thought the Beyond Meat one was great! It has the exact texture and color of ground beef. Meatless ones usually have beans/rice/lentils/mushrooms for that meaty texture. I’d guess this could fool anyone. I definitely recommend (#notsponsored).

Here’s the history of the Birthday Burgers for Mr. J:
2017 it was an Ultimate Mexican Burger with queso, guac, and beans.
2016 it was a Mac & Cheese Stuffed Burger topped with bacon, onions, and tomato.
2015 it was a Picnic Burger with slaw & potato sticks
2014 it was a German Burger with horseradish, caramelized onions, pickles and a pretzel roll
2013 it was a Vermont Burger with maple mayo, cheddar, bacon, and spinach
2012 it was a Bacon Wrapped Burger - enough said
2011 it was a Stuffed Burger stuffed with bacon & cheddar or bacon & blue cheese

Breakfast Deviled Eggs

The deviled egg variations are endless! I whipped these up for a staff coffee social at work. I put a cream cheese & everything bagel twist on traditional deviled eggs and they were great! My trick to prep ahead, without them too far pre-prepped, was doing it in stages. I hard boiled the eggs, then another time I mixed up the filling and left in a closed zip-top bag, then piped the filling and added the topping just before serving.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Deviled Eggs

Breakfast Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:

1 dozen eggs
2 tablespoons mayo
1 tablespoons cream cheese
1 teaspoon mustard
2 teaspoons minced chives (optional)
1 tablespoon Everything Bagel Seasoning

Directions:

Hard boil the eggs and then let them cool in ice water.
Peal the eggs, slice in half, and pop the yolks out into a bowl. Add in the mayo, cream cheese, mustard, chives, salt, and pepper.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Deviled Eggs
beat the filling or mash with a pastry blender.
Spoon the filling into a zip-top bag into a bottom corner. (I open the bag over a tall glass to hold it up.)
Snip the corner with scissors and pipe the filling into the egg halves. (I fill each just to the top of the egg, then go back to top them off.)
Sprinkle them with everything bagel seasoning.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Deviled EggsEnjoy!

I loved these! They were a good mix amongst fruit, coffee cakes, biscotti, quiche, and bagels. These are a great bite with everything else everyone will nibble on. The crunch on top was so perfect. I wanted to add a little bacon on there but wasn’t sure about how many vegetarians might be in the mix and I didn’t want these to be too much.
The Three Bite Rule - Breakfast Deviled Eggs
Here are my other Deviled Egg Variations:
French Onion Deviled Eggs
Caesar Deviled Eggs
Greek Deviled Eggs
Taco Spiced Deviled Eggs
Bacon Ranch Deviled Eggs
Sour Cream & Onion Deviled Eggs

Next week I have Mr. J’s 8th annual birthday burger to share and let me tell you, it was a gooood one!

Honey Garlic Lime Shrimp

You’ll never guess what’s in this shrimp dish. Haha. I love these frozen jumbo shrimp and am determined to enjoy them before they get buried in the freezer or before they freezer burnt. Mr J isn’t into shrimp so this was a fun lunch for one!
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Garlic Lime Shrimp
I kept the ingredients to a minimum for speed and that it can be made anytime! It is an easy one to double, or quadruple for a quick dinner or for a dinner party!

Honey Garlic Lime Shrimp (for 1)
Ingredients:
~5 jumbo raw shrimp (defrosted, pealed & deveined, as needed)
1 cup spaghetti/linguini
2 tablespoons butter
juice of 1/2 lime
zest of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Directions:
Boil salted water for pasta.
Grate the garlic and zest the lime.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Garlic Lime Shrimp
Add the pasta to the water.
Melt the butter in a medium pan over medium heat. Add in the lime juice, honey, and garlic.
Add in the shrimp with plenty of salt & pepper. Cook for 3-4 minutes then flip and cook on the other side for 3-4 minutes again.

The Three Bite Rule - Honey Garlic Lime Shrimp
Remove the shrimp from the pan and toss the cooked pasta into the sauce.
Add the shrimp in with parsley & lime zest. Toss again, then serve & enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Garlic Lime Shrimp
It was so good! The balance was spot-on. The butter + the lime juice + the honey was an ideal combo for a light yet flavorful sauce. The zest was SO necessary for freshness. Peeling and deveining the shrimp takes a little patience but is sooo worth it for better shrimp.

The whole dish cooks in the time it takes for the pasta water to boil and the pasta to cook. What’s better than a 10-minute dinner? Nothing! Leftover shrimp is not worth it, but since this cooks so quickly, it can be thrown together anytime.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Garlic Lime Shrimp

The shrimp and sauce would be great over rice or any grain, or in lettuce wraps, or on a crostini. The same flavors would be great for clams or muscles too!

Healthier Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

I’m boarder-line out of smoothie ideas that I’m into right now so I figured I’d healthify some of my tried & true. Way back in 2013 I made a chocolate cherry one with some chocolate sauce, frozen cherries, apples, and yogurt. This time, I started with a green base and added frozen cherries, ground flaxseed, and unsweetened cocoa. It was so great! Also it is an easy one to sneak the greens into.

I use smoothies as a breakfast, pretty much a meal for ~14 oz and then have a half an English muffin or do a mid-morning snack of dry cereal or a hard boiled egg. I’m also currently 7 1/2 months pregnant and always hungry. I like smoothies to be frosty and thick so I use a frozen fruit, also I continually stir it with my fav metal straws but for a thinner/more drinkable one skip the yogurt and defrost the cherries.
The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

Healthier Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of yogurt
1 cup greens (mine were started as fresh spinach & baby kale mix which then went into the freezer before they went bad)
~1 cup liquid (I used milk or try water or a red juice)
1 1/2 cups frozen cherries
1-2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1-2 teaspoons ground flaxseed

Directions:

Always, always, always blend the greens, liquid, and yogurt together first (unless you have a $800 blender). Blend for a minute or 2.
The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
Add in the cherries, ground flaxseed, and cocoa powder.
The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
Blend well for ~2 minutes on high.
Serve and enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate Cherry Smoothie
I loved this smoothie! The little one did too. I’d totally recommend this one to anyone who is hesitant about the greens (or any smoothie with cherries or blueberries since the color will camouflage greens). The greens really just add a veggie to your day, and who doesn’t need another green veggie? I cannot sip most green juices but love it in smoothies!

The flaxseed also doesn’t have flavor or grit. The Registered Dietitians I used to work with said grind ‘em. Whole flax seeds will usually just pass right through you. I pop them into my coffee grinder so smoothies have some additional fiber, plant-based protein, fatty acids, etc.

The cocoa was great for chocolate flavor without any additional sugar. Frozen cherries are the best since they’re already pitted. They’re one of the better frozen fruits to eat thawed too.

The Three Bite Rule - Chocolate Cherry Smoothie

May 2018 Recap

I feel like I got verrrrry pregnant this past week. 31 weeks in, ~9 to go! We had a fun long weekend with the family from Maine staying over and then the local family for a birthday/memorial day bbq. This month Mr. J and I had a date at a new-to-us restaurant and we all went to our fav Chinese restaurant we don’t get to all the time.

This month I was really into this coconut shrimp. Ohh it was just so good. I haven’t made it since but really need to work it into my next meal plan. Sweet but crunchy as well as juicy and fresh.
The Three Bite Rule - Coconut Shrimp Tacos with Mango Salsa
Baking itsn’t always my jam but I made Mint Chip Coconut Macaroons and was worried when some liquid kind of spread out but they turned out great!
The Three Bite Rule - Mint Chip Macaroons
Grain Bowls are a go-to for me so I rounded up a bunch.

The Little One:

He’s 100% potty trained. I’ve considered him trained for months, but now he is even at night time. Woot woot! He has been doing a great job listening and I appreciate that so much. I’m trying to capitalize, vocalize, and praise how appreciative I am. Aside from going outside, we’ve played a lot of magna-tiles and dinos this month. Breakfast sausage has been a hit with him this month. He’s been learning about insects and spiders at pre-school and always has been sharing a lot of facts.

Bump Update:

7 1/2 months in! I passed the glucose test, which was pretty expected, but great nonetheless. I’m much more uncomfortable and still sleep is what it is. Overall I’ve been feeling ok, just more tired lately. I keep thinking I want avocado and then when I get them home, I’m not really into it. All I want is what I can’t have: sandwiches & caffeine.

This Year’s Goals:

Year of the candle: I didn’t get one in May. I was enjoying my last few and didn’t think I reallllly needed one.   
Cook more appetizers/snacks:
I made honey mustard dip for soft pretzels
Taking time to blog thoughtfully: 
ehh, this wasn’t really something I focused on.
Journal the cute moments of my little one: I’ve enjoyed his way of suggesting something: I was thinking maybe we should go outside?
What I’m reading: 
 I read The Hate U Give and thought it was really well written as a YA novel. 
What I’m watching: 
we watched The Post which was fantastic. Free press is so crucial.

Honey Mustard Dressing/Dip

The little one loves all dip-able things and loves honey mustard the most. I don’t always make it, but it is seriously the easiest dressing to make. Quite awhile ago I brought it to a dip party with soft pretzels from the freezer section and they’re so fun since nobody has them all the time. This combo is the perfect app.

This time, I whipped some up for a weeknight dinner, along with some cucumbers and chicken sausage and it was a hit…likely because it isn’t something we have often!

The Three Bite Rule - Honey Mustard
Honey Mustard Dressing (for ~3/4 cup)
Ingredients:
1/2 cup honey
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
1 teaspoon orange juice
1 teaspoon mayo
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dijon/whole grain mustard (optional)

Directions:
Whisk together the honey, mustard, juice, mayo, garlic and dijon.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Mustard
Or add into a jar and shake.
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Mustard
Taste and adjust as necessary. Refrigerate until serving, for about a week.
Enjoy!

I like the dijon in there for more of a mustardy kick but I don’t always include it. The consistency is like dressing, and my leftover was used as salad dressing. Adding more mayo will make it thicker, more for use like a dip, and mellow out the sweet honey and the strong mustard. Those freezer soft pretzels need to be stocked in my freezer more often. They’re so fun and bake for ~4 minutes!
The Three Bite Rule - Honey Mustard

Rice Bowl Round Up

I just saw a request for meals for families that can be prepped ahead. Grain bowls are definitely a go-to for me and I’ve shared a bunch! I liiiive for meals prepped ahead to speed dinner time up and eat foods we like. They’re so conducive to leftovers and allow for some individual customization. To celebrate this busy time of year or this busy stage of life, here are my fav grain bowls plus my formula!

Grain + protein + veggies + sauce + something fun = the best grain bowls! I start with a theme and strive to hit a bunch of the following elements.

Bahn Mi Bowl - The Three Bite Rule

Grains: I tend to go with brown rice. I strive for a healthy one especially since it isn’t the highlight in these anyway. Brown rice in the pressure cooker is so fast, and is fluffier than I can even describe. I also like cracked wheat or bulgur. I’ve also done couscous, rice pilaf, orzo, and quinoa.

Protein: Pre-cooked ones speed it up like meatballs or chicken sausages. We’ve done his & hers by using some shrimp since they cook so quickly (hers) and reheated leftover steak (his). Falafel baked in advance is handy to just warm too!

Veggies: go for some raw and some cooked. These bowls are a good use for any leftover or small amounts. The raw ones allow for come warm/cold contrast and freshness and the cooked ones make these bowls filling. Herbs are great in these two if you have some around from anything else!

Sauce: I love a drizzle across the top of sauce or dressing. I’ve done pesto, honey mustard salad dressing, teriyaki, salsa, hummus, creamy caesar dressing, etc. Make your own or buy it. Sometimes I doctor up another condiment (like ranch + cilantro + taco seasoning or like sriracha + mayo). It ties it all together or can be good as a little dip.
sausage_arugula_bowl_dress_590_390

Something fun: my best grain bowls have something extra. Something we don’t have every day, or always with dinner makes it exciting like crispy wontons, toasted nuts, black sesame seeds, etc. Fruit can be great or some special cheese is always appreciated.

I find them more filling than salads and more fun than the same things on a plate as separate entities. These are also a go-to since the little one loves rice and when chopping stuff for him, it is easy to do the same for all of us. He’s 3 so we give him all the foods we’re eating, though he tends to eat them separately and sauce is sometimes for dipping versus drizzled on top.

Bahn Mi Bowl - The Three Bite Rule

My favorites:
Sausage, Arugula, Walnuts, and Apple Rice Bowls
Teriyaki Chicken, Edamame & Pineapple Rice Bowls
Pork Bahn Mi Bowls
Chicken, Bacon, Avocado Rice Bowls
Burrito Bowls with Mexican Street Corn
Italian Meatball Rice Bowls
Falafel Rice Bowls

Some runners up:
This one could have used more ingredients, but had good flavors: Ground Turkey Teriyaki Rice Bowls
This one could use a touch more variation in texture, but gave great variation: Chicken & Sweet Potato with Peanut Sauce Rice Bowls

The Three Bite Rule - Italian Grain Bowl
I may incorporate weekly grain bowls into the rotation once we have an infant and toddler in just about 10 weeks! These might be a fun way to intro some lesser-consumed veggies at your house. If this format feels daunting, start with favorite flavors- think: BBQ chicken; cobb salad ingredients with ranch or blue cheese dressing; or taco fillings to start!

The Three Bite Rule - Burrito Bowl

These are kind of the anti-casserole. While I enjoy a lasagna, pot pie, layered casserole, these are easier for me, and don’t need a hour in the oven. Plus, they feel appropriate for any season instead of winter-worthy foods. Our toddler doesn’t love foods all cooked together…it also feels like all my eggs in one basket so I reserve those for my favs: chili or pot pie.

Salmon Cakes with Bacon

Salmon BLTs got me thinking how good bacon would be into a salmon cake! It really was! It also was a great use for the 2nd portion of salmon after grilling the other piece and wanting something different. I ate it like a burger but it would be great on a salad or fun as sliders.
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon Cakes with Bacon

Bacony Salmon Cakes with Herb Aoli

Ingredients: (for 2)

~4 oz fresh salmon
2 strips bacon
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 egg
salt & pepper
2 teaspoons mayo
1 teaspoon fresh herbs (mine was chive & thyme or use parsley/oregano/etc)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon of dried herbs (mine was a mix of basil/oregano/thyme/rosemary)
2 rolls
sliced tomato & arugula to serve

Directions:

Pan fry the bacon until crisp.
Chop the salmon and add to a bowl with the bacon, garlic, breadcrumbs, mustard, egg, and salt & pepper. (I chopped half the salmon into larger chunks and half into fine chunks.)
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon Cakes with Bacon
Heat a medium skillet to medium heat (preferably the same pan as the bacon cooked in) with a drizzle of olive oil. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees.
Stir gently and form into 2 patties.
Pan fry, covered for about 3 minutes on each side. Then bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes.
While the patties cook, add the mayo, fresh herbs, garlic powder, lemon juice, and dried herbs to a small bowl.
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon Cakes with Bacon
Stir the aoli and refrigerate until assembling the sandwiches.
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon Cakes with Bacon
Let the salmon cakes cool for a few minutes before assembling.
Spread the aoli onto the top bun and serve with greens and tomato.
Enjoy!
The Three Bite Rule - Salmon Cakes with Bacon

I loooooved the bacon in here! It kept it juicy and was a great compliment to the salmon. Mixing it in was way better than serving it on top. The an herby aoli has that touch of lemon to be a quick condiment for just the zing the salmon needs.

Serving a group: mix up the salmon cakes and bake in the oven for ~15 minutes on a generously oiled pan, flipping once or twice. Then you won’t have to baby-sit them frying in a pan! The aoli can be made ahead of time or double it and use the rest on burgers or sandwiches. I made 2 salmon cakes and froze the other for a treat some night when we grill since it’ll only have to warm through.